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AAA Style: 6 Rules to Help your Writing

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) Style of referencing is a close relative of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). This means that the style borrows heavily from CMS. Although there are major differences like the style’s minimal use of punctuation and how the reference entries are formatted. The AAA Style Manual, an online publication, offers anthropological writers and scholars guidelines on AAA variations from CMS style.

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This guide is an outline of style rules basic to AAA style. Where no rule is present on this list, follow Chicago. For spelling, follow Webster’s first spelling if there is a choice and use American not British spellings.

General Rules of AAA Style

  1. Titles and Headings

Do not put endnote callouts on display type such as titles, section heads, or epigraphs. Place them after nearest hard punctuation or at the ends of excerpts. Never use endnotes inside excerpts or after soft punctuation (i.e., commas, em-dashes, in lines of poetry). Do not number section heads.

2. Capitalization

Capitalize full official names for names of organizations, but lowercase “the” preceding a name, even

where it is part of the official title: the Baltimore City Council, Bureau of the Census, Census Bureau, and Circuit Court of Cook County.

The names of these organizations become lowercase where they become general: the bureau, city council, congressional, council, county court, federal.

Capitalize geographical and popular names of places: Antarctica, Asia, Atlantic, Back Bay (Boston), Central America, City of Brotherly Love, Foggy Bottom (D.C.), Ivory Coast, North Pole, Orient, the States, Third World (do not hyphenate as adj.), Upper Michigan. Directions should be capitalized where used as a name but not where used as a direction like North America and eastern Europe.

For titles of works in AAA journals, references cited, and notes: change capitalization only. Do not change anything else, even spelling or punctuation (exception to Chicago). Capitalize first and last words of titles and subtitles in English. Capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound (exception to Chicago). Do not capitalize parenthetical translations of titles in references cited.

3. Numbers

Spell out numbers when writing one through ten, have numbers at the beginning of a sentence and when numbers are used in the approximate sense. Hyphenate as both adjective and noun: a two-thirds majority, two-thirds of those present.

4. Quotations

All published quotations in AAA style must be cited with year and page number(s) like (1992:7–8). However, avoid “cited in” where citing quotes within another work. Use the work listed in references cited and adjust the language outside parentheses like:

As John notes (Jane 2021)

And not: (John, cited in Jane 2021)

Quotations from interviews or conversations that have not been published or aired should be cited in text and include interviewee name, interviewer name, month, day and year of interview. For block extracts, if it is more than four lines then cite after the period in parenthesis.

If italics have been added, specify, simply put ‘emphasis added’ in the parenthesis rather than applying the italics. Block quotations do not require quotation marks in all referencing styles, not just AAA.

All quotations should be added as they are regardless of errors like spellings. In the case of spelling mistakes, you should add [sic]. You cannot quote everything either like single word responses on their own.

5. In-Text Citation in AAA

AAA style is basically an author-date system which uses parenthesis. Use quotation marks before andAAA Style after the author’s words in a short quotation, always. Place quotation citations after the quote.

Use the author’s full name in your text whenever possible. If you do not have this information, cite the author’s last name, either in the sentence introducing the borrowed material or within parentheses at the end of the quotation or paraphrase. Cite the year the document was published within parentheses (after the author’s name if it does not appear in your text).

Follow the year with a colon; then note the page(s) on which the original information appears. (Note that there is no space between the colon and the page number(s). If you are citing reprinted material, type only the date from the version of the work used in your text.

6. Referencing in AAA

Title of the reference page in AAA style is References Cited (with no quotation marks around the word, and no bold or italics). Arrange the sources in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author listed on the source. References with the same author and date should be alphabetized by the title of the document. When there are two or more places of publication for a reference, list only the first.

For student work, the References Cited page is generally double-spaced. However, in anthropological publications, the page is single-spaced. Therefore, basically the AAA style is the author-date option of the Chicago style.

Although, you will note that in the references the author names are on a separate line as the rest of the reference entry. Below are demonstrations of some commonly used sources:

 Source  Reference
Books Last Name, First Name

Year Book Title. City: Publisher.

Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name

Year Book Title. City: Publisher.

Last Name, First Name

Yeara Book Title. City: Publisher.

Yearb Book Title. City: Publisher.

Last Name, First Name Initial.

Year Chapter Title. In Book Title. First Name Last Name, eds. Pp. xx. City: Publisher

Last Name, First Name

Year Book Title. nth edition. City: Publisher

Journals Last Name, First Name Initial.

Year Article Title. Journal Name Volume (Issue): Pages.

Last Name, First Name

Year Article Title. Journal Name Volume (Issue): Pages. DOI: XXX accessed mm dd, yyyy.

Newspapers Last Name, First Name

Year Article Title. Newspaper name, Month date: position

In Summation…

AAA style borrows almost everything from the Chicago manual of style. But the minor differences make it worthwhile to peruse the AAA style guide. Those minor differences can become very prominent especially if the people reading your paper are aware of the AAA style rules. Consult us if you feel that you are having trouble grasping the small details of the AAA style.

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